Valentine’s Day may be long gone, but couples are still flocking to Paris in search of that perfect sun-kissed minibreak for two. And now that the weather is glorious enough for wandering about freely outside, lovers in Paris can truly rejoice.
So if you’re in search of romantic Paris but have already locked up your love with a padlock on the Pont des Arts, whispered sweet nothings over pistachio macarons and coffee, or even been proposed to atop the Eiffel Tower, then head to the artisans’ hub of Montmartre, where you’ll find the I Love You Wall, tucked away on pretty Square Jehan Rictus.
This stunning wall is composed of 612 midnight blue tiles, with the words “I love you” written 311 times in 250 different languages. As the I Love You Wall website points out, walls usually stand to divide, and through history have been a symbol of violence and separation, but the I Love You Wall signifies the opposite, acting as a mirror to reflect an image of love and peace.
The wall is the creation of Frédéric Baron, who dreamed of a trip around the world like that of Philéas Fogg—a journey where he would collect “I love yous.” But rather than packing his bags and embarking on a trip by railway, steamer and so on, Baron contacted family, friends and neighbors, even knocking on the doors of embassies, persuading all those he met to write down these magic words in their native tongue. The result: three large notebooks filled with 1,000 “I love yous.” Next Baron enlisted the help of artist and calligrapher Claire Kito to assemble the script and mural specialist Daniel Boulogne to help complete the project.
Their combined efforts have created a piece of dazzling artwork that stands at an impressive 40 square meters (that’s 430 square feet)—besting many Paris studio apartments while being, of course, infinitely more beautiful. Lovers in Paris gather underneath to marvel at its beauty, whisper the words in newfound languages and even add their own initials, hearts and promises of eternity.
The I Love You Wall can be found in Square Jehan Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Montmartre. (Metro stop: Abbesses, Line 12.)
Kate Ross is a London-born freelance journalist and former resident of Jakarta who came to Paris to intern at the International Herald Tribune. She now spends her days writing gig reviews, embracing her inner bobo and blogging about it all.